Short stories from Istanbul

Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time there was a married couple living in Nepal. She was from Croatia and he was from Nepal. One sunny summer day they were leisurely surfing the Internet when they came across cheap plane tickets to Croatia. Her eyes lit up at the prospect of going to Croatia for Christmas and he nodded his head in approval. Tickets were purchased.

Come December, the suitcases were packed and a happy couple made their way to the airport. Everything seemed merry. After all, ’twas the season. One thing they neglected to consider was the fact they were flying …[ insert horror movie music]… Turkish Airlines. Oh, what a nightmare it was! Their flight out of Kathmandu to Istanbul was delayed for more than 5 hours, but they were still waiting patiently, excited they are on the way to Croatia, hoping they would not miss their connecting flight. When finally boarded, both were surprised to find out there are no announcements being made, and no apology given for delay. Entertainment system was not working and there was no food for vegetarians and others who do not eat meat.  When they reached Istanbul, their flight to Croatia has already departed. And that is when their ordeal truly began. For some immigration reasons they were not allowed to leave the airport and sleep in the hotel provided by the airline. Instead, they had to spend 15:30 hours in Istanbul airport. They wasted hours and hours walking from one desk to the other trying to find some accommodation or at least some sympathy from the airline and airport staff. To no vain. All they got was angry and disgusted glances. They’ve been ignored, yelled at, lied to, made fools out of. They got a food voucher for a hamburger. And finally, exhausted, frustrated and angry, they found a quiet room and two chairs to spend the night. Even for that, they got mistreated and yelled at.

Finally, the next morning arrived and they boarded their flight to Croatia. Luckily, this time everything was in order. They reached Croatia tired but happy to see the beaming faces of the family members in the airport. Next three weeks were spent in a haze of food and sleep. When the day of departure for Nepal came, the couple again feared the worse – delays and mistreatment in Istanbul airport. Their trip began on a positive note, by being upgraded to business class for their first flight. But that was all they got. Just an upgrade, but not the service. Seat was in a business class area, though the food was economy class. Couple dismissed it with a laugh, happy that someone was appreciative enough of the trouble they went through earlier. However, upon reaching Istanbul, finding out they are no longer in business class and realizing their flight is seven hours delayed, despair, once again, set in. This time around, they decided they will not allow airline and airport staff to abuse and mistreat them, so they found a quiet seat in the waiting area where they would spend the next 12 hours. Faith had something else in plan.

Patience is a virtue

Patience is a virtue

The husband suddenly developed a strong headache. It must’ve been stress-induced. His eyes turned red and his mood went sour. The wife went in search of a medication. She located the information desk where she found out that she needs to call the pharmacy which will then deliver the medicine. She did as told. The pharmacy said to call back in an hour. She obliged. After second call she was told to hold on for 10 minutes and medicine will be brought to her. She waited for more than an hour. No one showed up. Upon her third call to the pharmacy, she was told to call back in ten minutes. The wife then gave up and cried in frustration. The husband was getting worse and worse. They walked around the airport looking for someone to help them. None of the airport staff was responsive. As if though they were not human. Finally, they managed to get medicine from a nice fellow traveller.

Flight was boarded with seven-hour delay. Once again, no entertainment system on a seven-hour flight. Mid-way to Kathmandu eggs and sausages were slapped in front of them to eat. No vegetarian option. Again, no apology.

No Turkish Airlines for this couple again. They only have one thing to say to you, readers:  for heaven’s sake, avoid Turkish Airlines and Istanbul airport like plague.

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